The Protect Our Breasts communications initiative is an interdisciplinary project of marketing and biology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and hosted by the Isenberg School of Management. A team of students from across the academic specialties from finance to public health work together to research and share the scientific discoveries and safer alternatives to everyday toxins.
While the science presents a web of causality for breast cancer, we are dedicated to snipping away at these potential causes. We adhere to the Precautionary Principle while we still “lack irrefutable proof of harm.”
Protect Our Breasts approaches the communication about safer alternatives or solutions to chemical safety in two ways. Our first approach is information sharing. We “share the conversation” meaning what science-based breast cancer organizations, science sources and others who are highly-respected for their work in this field, are discovering about these chemicals of concern and the solutions for avoiding them.
In addition to communicating to our online community, Protect Our Breasts participates in and hosts a variety of events held on the different campuses throughout the academic year. At these events, chapter members have the opportunity to share both information and “a safer alternative product”. The reasoning behind sharing these products is to support companies who are making change in the marketplace while providing a solution to students who often feel burden by the idea that “everything causes cancer.”
How do we decide what if our alternatives are safer?
We have turned to some of the most respected individuals in this area as members of our Science & Standards Advisory:
This group of eminent professionals has committed to moving from a current process approach along a continuum towards an analytical approach to product safety.
Under our process approach, products are considered based on certification under an approved set of standards:
- NOP-USDA/EU/Canada Certified Organic
- NSF standards and EcoCert for Cosmetics
- GOTS for textiles
We consider packaging materials and prefer test results to verify no leaching and/or interactions with the contents occur. Packaging/distribution may also be considered to confirm no foreign substances are contaminating the product through the supply chain.
Under our analytical approach, products would be considered based on results of assays of the whole product.
Both the process approach and the analytical approach provide tools that allow us to access product safety.
Protect Our Breasts is dedicated to transparency and authenticity. The following steps are taken for each product distributed:
- The POB EB Researchers search for a product which is currently certified by standards agreed upon by the science and standards advisory and completes a preliminary proposal. In addition, packaging materials and/or packaging certification are identified.
- POB ED sends POB Science and Standards Advisory proposal including all certifications and paperwork, and packaging materials to ask for red flags.
- If problems arise, ED writes to the company to insure further clarification as directed by the POB Science and Standards Advisory including non-disclosed ingredients, suppliers’ verification of process, test results of leaching and/or interaction with packaging and ingredients, etc.
- The information is obtained and shared with the POB Science and Standards Advisory who makes a final recommendation to proceed.
Protect Our Breasts is committed to working with scientists and standards advisors who are currently engaged in this critical sea change who will have the most up-to-date and applicable information available. Many thanks to these individuals for their contributions of time, energy and invaluable knowledge.
Why Aren’t We Pink? While we encourage awareness of the disease, neither the color nor the ribbon verifies products free of breast cancer contributing chemicals.